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Open Source

I am a great believer in both open-source and free software.

Unsurprisingly I fall in the category of "pragmatist" in regards to the choice of open-source software licencing.

My favoured licences are the GPLv3 and the Apache 2.0 licences.

For projects such as visural-common, visural-wicket I have used the Apache 2.0 license. The reason for this at that both of these projects are libraries / developer components. My primary reason for working on these components is so that I can use them in my day-to-day work and/or take them from job-to-job. Anyone working in a commercial environment is going to have a hard time using GPL code with proprietary code, and so the Apache 2.0 license facilitates my goal in working on those projects. It is also compatible with GPLv3 which doesn't prevent GPL projects from using the code either - so I'm sacrificing a bit of "freedom" so that the code can exist at all.

For projects such as open-review, which are intended as an end-product, that you would download, deploy and use, I chose the GPLv3 licence. I agree with the spirit of the GPL licence and the obligation to share the same freedom you have with the rest of the community. With a user facing product which should not need much adaptation or modification to be useful, I think the GPL does a good job of keeping everybody honest, and thus the choice of licence.

The exception here is the markdown-doclet, which is GPLv2 - that is simply because of the licencing terms of the base code (GPL) and to be honest, there's next to nothing of mine in there anyhow, so ho-hum.

Naturally open-source licensing is an issue where you will not satisfy everyone, all the time, but I think it's good to be open about the reasons for making the base-level licensing decisions, and then people can choose whether they want to participate or not.

About the Author

Richard Nichols is an Australian software engineer with a passion for making things.

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